AR banner
Search Tips Advanced Search
Back to Top

Info LogoAdd to or correct this story with a few clicks.
Archive Report: Allied Forces

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.
Check our Research databases: Database List


We seek additional information and photographs. Please contact us via the Helpdesk.

61 Squadron Crest
26/27.08.1940 No. 61 Squadron Hampden I P4324 QR-P F/O. Peter D. Tunstall

Operation: Merseburg

Date: 26/27th August 1940 (Monday/Tuesday)

Unit: No. 61 Squadron

Type: Hampden MkI

Serial: P4324

Code: QR-P

Base: RAF Hemswell

Location: Vliehors, Holland

Pilot: F/O. Peter David Tunstall 70824 RAF PoW No: 258 Camp: Stalag Saalhaus Colditz - O4C (Obituary)

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Albert Edward Murdock 565268 RAF PoW No: 225 Camp: Stalag Luft Heydekrug - 357

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Michael J. Joyce RAF PoW No: Camp: Dulag Luft - No details (1)

Air/Gnr: Sgt. John W. Brock 743038 RAF PoW No: 729 Camp: Stalag Luft Heydekrug - 357


Hampden Mk.I, P4324, QR-"P" (for Peter), of No. 61 Sqdn.,7 Aug. 1940 - In the early morning, after a nightly air raid on Merseburg/Germany it force landed on the Vliehorst (beach) of Vlieland isle, because the aircraft was running out of fuel (due to a long flight,§ under bad weather conditions).

The bomber was captured intact by the Germans soon after the pilot had launched a "red light" (flare) as a sign to destroy the plane to the two crew members left guarding it. He and another of the crew, an Irishman, were trying to find out "where in England" they had landed, but discovered that they were in fact in Holland!

Above: F/O. Peter David Tunstall, who gained quite a remarkable reputation during his Colditz stay!

The crew were captured by Germans of the West-Battery of Vlieland): F/O. Tunstall (pilot), Sgt. Murdock, Sgt. Joyce (an Irish National, who "escaped" in 1942 to the U.K.) and Sgt. Brock. The crew, including Sgt. Joyce, were made prisoners of war and taken to the neighbouring island of Terschelling for one night, and after that ferried via Harlingen, then transported by lorry via Makkum to Stavoren, and ferried again to Amsterdam (prison). After that they taken to Dulag Luft Oberursel interrogation camp in Germany.

(1) Sgt Michael J Joyce (947) is a strange one, and probably shouldn't be included here. He was air gunner of Hampden P4324 which force-landed on the Dutch island of Vlieland the night of 26/27 August 1940 returning from Leipzig. The whole crew were captured and taken to Dulag Luft at Oberursel. Joyce says he stayed at Dulag Luft until early 1942 when he was taken to a hospital at Kloster Haina. His MI9 report says that he subsequently escaped from a farm at Kaisersech but this story has since been amended.

It is believed that the Irish born Joyce, a cousin of William Joyce (2), was recruited by the Abwehr and released to try and infiltrate one of the escape lines - in this case presumably the Belgian Comete organisation. Joyce's MI9 report says he was taken to Liege where he met RAF evader Fl/Sgt Gordon Mellor (951) with whom he travelled to Paris. They were joined by P/O. Lorn Kropf (950) and Sgt. Alexis Stadnik (946) and the four men were taken across the Pyrenees from St Jean de Luz on 18th October 1942. Michael Joyce died in Ireland in 1976.

(2) William Brooke Joyce (24 April 1906 – 3 January 1946), nicknamed Lord ‘Haw-Haw’, was an American-born, Irish-British Fascist politician and Nazi propaganda broadcaster to the United Kingdom during World War II. He was convicted of one count of High Treason in 1945. The Court of Appeal and the House of Lords upheld his conviction. He was hanged at Wandsworth Prison by Albert Pierrepoint.

Burial details:

None - all PoW. F/O. Peter David Tunstall from South Africa retired 3rd December 1957 as Sq/Ldr. Escaped an earlier crash landing near Gayton, Kings Lynn, Norfolk. Running out of fuel after an operation to Hanover. Flying as W/Op. on 61 Squadron Hampden I P4349. All crew survived, the badly damaged Hampden was salvaged and used after conversion for ground training as 2157M. Peter passed away on July 27th 2013 age 94. Further details can be read about him in our obituary section.

Researched by Michel Beckers for Aircrew Remembered May 2015. photographs of F/O. Tunstall courtesy of Chris Hebers - Hampden photographs courtesy Michel Beckers.

Pages of Outstanding Interest
History Airborne Forces •  Soviet Night Witches •  Bomber Command Memories •  Abbreviations •  Gardening Codenames
CWGC: Your Relative's Grave Explained •  USA Flygirls •  Axis Awards Descriptions •  'Lack Of Moral Fibre'
Concept of Colonial Discrimination  •  Unauthorised First Long Range Mustang Attack
RAAF Bomb Aimer Evades with Maquis •  SOE Heroine Nancy Wake •  Fane: Motor Racing PRU Legend
Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Stan D. Bishop, John A. Hey MBE, Gerrie Franken and Maco Cillessen - Losses of the US 8th and 9th Air Forces, Vols 1-6, Dr. Theo E.W. Boiton - Nachtjagd Combat Archives, Vols 1-13. Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
Click any image to enlarge it

Click to add your info via ticket on Helpdesk •Click to let us know via ticket on Helpdesk• Click to buy research books from Amazon •Click to explore the entire site
If you would like to comment on this page, please do so via our Helpdesk. Use the Submit a Ticket option to send your comments. After review, our Editors will publish your comment below with your first name, but not your email address.

A word from the Editor: your contribution is important. We welcome your comments and information. Thanks in advance.

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning we will remember them. - Laurence Binyon
All site material (except as noted elsewhere) is owned or managed by Aircrew Remembered and should not be used without prior permission.
© Aircrew Remembered 2012 - 2024
Last Modified: 17 February 2016, 22:10

Monitor Additions/Changes?Click to be informed of changes to this page. Create account for first monitor only, thereafter very fast. Click to close without creating monitor